Finding the (Nearly) Perfect Property

The very first showing of our house resulted in an offer.  We are under contract.  I love this little old house.  I am proud of what I have done with the yard and the sheer beauty of the space makes me smile.  I turned a barren driveway and dirt lot into an Eden in less than three growing seasons.  So, now it’s perfect, time to move, right?!

This will be the 28th time I have moved.  Doug’s parents lived in the same house for thirty years.  He’s made me promise that we stay ten years to forever in the next house!  Is the next house the sprawling adobe on a hundred acres that we envisioned as our next and forever home?  Does it have water rights and mineral rights?  Does it have a wood stove and solar?  No, nope, and not yet.

We live in Colorado.  We were both born and raised here.  A zillion and a half folks who love pot, mountains, or who are in the military have moved here and prices rival San Francisco and New York City now.  That baffles us both.  My first house in Denver was $36,000.  Those days are gone.  Pueblo kind of got stuck in a time warp thanks to an old reputation of crime and gangs, but the city has cleaned up a lot and since there is so little housing in Colorado Springs, military families are moving here.  Everything has gone up 50% in the past few years here in Pueblo, everywhere else we are talking a hundred grand more for everything from the suburbs to trailers.

When you are choosing a homestead, you have to choose your priorities.  For us, Doug’s job is a really good one that he enjoys.  Our children are here.  Our granddaughters are here.  And we were raised here; we like it here.  We found a small town 30 minutes south of Colorado Springs.  It puts us closer to his work and our kids by 15 minutes.  It looks like it was a back to the land beacon back in the seventies.  Driving down dirt roads one passes a large sprawling house and orchard next to a run down trailer next to a marijuana greenhouse, next to a house built in the 90’s.  Very eclectic.

There are no wells and almost all of the water in Colorado is city water or not owned by the property owner.  In Penrose, everything is on city water (more affordable than the other towns we have lived in thus far at least) and some properties have coveted ditch rights to water fields.  The only one we saw like that was snatched up in days.

So, the question one must ask themselves is, “What do we want?”  (Besides a sprawling adobe on a hundred irrigated acres…for $200,000…near Doug’s work and next door to the kids…)

For us, we have long given up the idea of commercial farming.  We just want a few goats, chickens, ducks, a ginormous garden, and a great view.  We can subsist on that easily.  Three bedrooms and two baths.  A wood stove.

Our realtor took us out Sunday and we went to the three places that were for sale under $300,000.  The first one looked like the makings of a horror movie, with slanting floors, a falling down manufactured home, with lots of junk on two acres.  The second one had five acres but we weren’t sure what we would do with five acres without water.  One would need a rather long hose.  The views were cut off by nearby houses and the ceiling of the manufactured home was falling in.  That one was $225,000.  Lord, help us.  So, off to the third house (which we had driven by and disregarded).


All pictures were taken off of the listing on the internet.

It was humble on the outside.  The inside was completely redone.  Gorgeous wood floors, high ceilings, new kitchen, fresh carpet in the three bedrooms, all new paint.  Two bathrooms with new vanities.  A large master bedroom with a perfect view of the nearby mountain range.  No wood stove.

The house sits crooked on just over an acre of cactus and cedar with views all around.  A fenced in back yard is in place to keep our dog home before we can secure the mismatched fencing around rest of the property.  A large shed with electricity would make a fine chicken coop.  Neighbors are quite close.  “Sometimes it is nice to have neighbors near,” my daughter commented later.


As we drove home discouraged and sure we’d have an offer on our house, I turned to Doug and asked, “If that house (and it was the only real house for sale) had six foot fencing around it and a wood stove, would we buy it?”  He replied, “In a second.”

Since those are things we can do over time, we put in an offer and it was accepted!  We move August 15th. I know it’s early and there are a million things that could go wonky from now to then (I am systematically going through over six and a half years of blog posts deleting irrelevant posts like when we thought we found a new rental or when I wanted to become a chef) but I wanted to share the news that we have found our homestead.  It may not be the elaborate dream we had, but it is perfect for us, because it will be ours.  I am beyond grateful.  To think four years ago this week on the blog we were losing everything we owned and moving into our friend’s guest bedroom.  And now we will have our own farm.

Farmgirl School adventures continue!  Happy Homesteading wherever you are!

Keep Calm and Start a Farm

keep calm

I nabbed this off of Facebook.  Such a glorious poster!  I’d like to greatly enlarge it and plaster a main wall with it just to keep me focused.  I tend to overthink every situation, worry about every possible scenario, plan not only Plan A, but Plans B, C, D, and parts of E.  I am a “go getter” which both exhausts and over stimulates me…and my husband.

People have asked, “Why don’t you buy?”  “Oh, we can’t buy.”  That is always my answer.  We fell on our faces after perfect credit scores and a cushy lifestyle to the sound of the housing market.  We lost our house and car within three months.  That was three years ago.  The car company sold the minivan but still is coming after us for thousands.  We have this and that black-marking our credit.  But, then I started thinking (uh oh, there I go again),  here I keep praying for a farm and then looking up rentals.  Perhaps I am supposed to have my own farm!  (Well, not my own, Doug wants one too.)  So, we asked a mortgage lender and we can qualify three years after a foreclosure.  This means the craziness is about to begin.

See, here are the scenarios….

Currently our bills are too high and the sales at our shop are too low.  There is a possibility that the new owners of our building where our shop is located will raise the rent exorbitantly to match surrounding rents.  There is the need to pay off the items on the credit report, start saving boatloads of money to get us through winter if necessary, or to just pay off the debts, and/or to put a down payment on a farm.

Or….the rent won’t go up, sales will pick up, and we will just need to make extra for the fixing of credit and down payment of a farm.  Or….this is the point where I need an herbal anti-anxiety! (St. John’s Wort anyone?)

No matter what the situations involve this summer there is one thing I will do.  Work my farmgirl tail off.  Five farmer’s markets a week.  Two booths, one with the Apothecary and one with me and Nancy and our daughters’ Farmgirl booth.  The Farmgirl booth will be filled to the brim with everything we make from our respective homesteads.  Homemade goat’s milk soap (we are making four batches today with creativity and fun in mind), fresh breads, scrumptious pies, crisp greens straight from the garden,  our farm fresh eggs, sweet medicinal honeys, organic teas, hand roasted coffee from Emily.  Double stitched aprons, charming candles, and whatever else our entrepreneurial farmgirl spirit inspires us to do! The Apothecary booth is our mini-store.  We’ll bring a baby goat and our new granddaughter and we should have the most popular booth there!

Dawn to dusk we will work.  Farmer’s market and the shop.  Canning, gardening, and the regular homestead chores.  Keep up with farmer’s market products.  I will be exhausted.  Tan.  Content.  And that much closer to getting a farm.

Keep Calm And Start A Farm